The 5th Quarter : The Innard Limits: Meats You’ve Been Missing : A Foreign Tongue

Of Spanish origin, this used to be one of the favorite meat dishes of my 10-year old son, until he found out it was made with tongue. Tongue is actually mild-tasting and picks up the flavors of spices and sauces simmered with it. Long cooking is required so the tongue gets delicately tender, almost butter-like, and the flavors have time to mellow.


1 medium to large tongue



2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 sweet red pepper, cut in strips

1 green pepper, cut in strips

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 large onion, chopped


1 (8-ounce) package small mushrooms, optional

1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

2 tablespoons soy sauce


Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

2 (3-ounce) Spanish sausage (or pepperoni), diagonally sliced

3 potatoes, sliced in rounds or wedges and fried


Place tongue in Dutch oven or large heavy pot. Add water to cover, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to boil over high heat, then cover and simmer 2 hours. Remove tongue from broth and discard broth. When cool enough to handle, peel off outer thick covering from tongue.

Finely dice small portion of red and green pepper strips to measure 1/3 cup. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil with butter in same pot over medium heat. Add and saute garlic, onion and mushrooms until tender. Add diced peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste and remaining bay leaf. Simmer 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup water, soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste and whole peeled tongue. Cover and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until tongue is very tender and sauce is thickened. (Add more water if necessary.) Add sugar and adjust seasonings to taste. Remove tongue from sauce. Cut in 1/4-inch thick slices. Strain sauce, if desired.

Return tongue to sauce with sausage and reserved red and green pepper strips and cook until peppers are bright-colored and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with golden brown fried potatoes. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Note: If desired, add 1 cup pitted green olives to peeled tongue before simmering another hour or so.